Friday, December 14, 2007

They used to be friends...

So we all know that the music industry is really messed up. If you want details, well, read anybody's behind-the-scenes book, actually. Occasionally good music squeaks out, and we all get lucky, but in the meantime, nobody should be surprised by all the bad.

Having just watched the documentary DiG!, a documentary about several years in the lives of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols, I can add "delusional" to "messed up." In the first place, both bands have done some decent music, but neither of them is revolutionary or one-of-a-kind. My perception may be whacked from living in Mpls at a time when you couldn't throw a paisley tie without hitting someone from a 60s revivalist punk-influenced garage rock band. When I first saw Anton Newcomb's sideburns and dashiki, it threw me into a 7th Street Entry flashback, and I kind of moaned "Noooooo...."

Honestly, the way he (and some fans in the movie) talk, you'd think nobody ever thought of this style of music before Newcomb did. They need to check out the Children of Nuggets collection from their local libraries and get a grip.

At the same time, I was dumbfounded by the sequence where the Dandy Warhols, signed to a major label, think they're going to have a monster nationwide hit with a song called "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth." The people at Capitol seem to think this is possible, too, since they set up hugely expensive photo shoots and a $400,000 music video to promote it.

As soon as I saw the song title, I thought, are they fucking kidding? Someone honestly thinks this is going to break through to mainstream America? I mean, Camper Van Beethoven might have been able to do something with that title back in the 80s, but they weren't seriously trying to compete with Duran Duran. And that's what I thought before I heard the song, which isn't funny enough or catchy enough to face such an uphill battle. (OMG, the Amazon review calls its catchprase, "Heroin is so passe," a "memorable chorus." I'd call that more a passe chorus).

And then, behold! They and the record company are all disappointed that a 60s revivalist garage rock band with poppy undertones doesn't have a huge hit record right out of the gate! I understand the band being delusional, but shouldn't people who make money in their business have a better understanding of how it all works? I thought that's why they put out all that crap!

So if you'll pardon me, I'm going to rustle up my Nomads CD...

1 comment:

Dan said...

My perception may be whacked from living in Mpls at a time...

Say no more!

Living in Mpls. will warp all sorts of perceptions, and you'll find yourself believing some very strange things indeed.

Maybe I'm just bitter, though. After a few decades there, I realized that I would never be cool enough to really live there. I was delusional. So, I had to leave to save myself and the city's inhabitants from my rank uncoolness.

Or perhaps it was the combination of being uncool and unhip that lead to my excommnunication. Oh well. The city and it's hyper-hip inhabitants can breathe easy.